Food borne illnesses, Symptoms-Causes, Treatment, Prevention

Food borne illness are physical issues that arises due to consuming food or liquid which is contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses etc. There are harmful substances, which may also cause food borne physical issues; these substances may include chemical sprinkled on trees, plant and agricultural fields for better harvest. When these chemicals are not cleared from fruit, vegetables or other food products, these may also cause food borne maladies. There are several symptoms of food borne issues which may be benign or may be serious as well. According to statistics it is said that approximately 76 million people in the United States falls victim to such food borne infections and most cases also goes unreported. These food borne infections caused by pathogens also lead to death as approximately 5000 deaths are attributed to such illness.

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Causes of food borne illness:

The most common factor that causes food borne infection is influence of harmful bacteria. While you purchase eatables, there are high chances that some bacteria may be present on them. Hence, raw food serves as one of the most common causes of food borne diseases. Example of such raw food may include fruits, vegetables etc. Not only raw food causes such issues but undercooked food may also cause illness, for example poultry products, meat etc. There are possibilities that seafood may get contaminated during processing or gathering. One of the most common kinds of virus that leads to food borne illness is said to be Salmonella. This virus may be present on egg shell; hence, do not break egg by striking against container which may make the container contaminated, rather use a separate spoon or knife to break egg and wash them properly after using.

It should be known that any food stuff can become contaminated at any point of time during the process of growing, harvesting, transporting, storing or even preparing. Salmonella can also be carried by animals such as your pets including rabbits, tortoise, etc. These viruses may even reach to your food through animals and birds. There are various ways in which such harmful bacteria can enter into your body and cause illness. The bacteria can multiply themselves quickly at room temperature. The foods that are stored in freezing temperature also contain bacteria which are slowed due to the temperature but this does not kill the bacteria. If such foods are consumed along with bacteria dwelling on it, it may lead to food borne illness. The only way to kill bacteria is by appropriate long term cooking.

Food borne illness- symptoms

Similar to any other physical maladies, even food borne illness may show some associated symptoms. There are symptoms that can be serious whereas some symptoms may be benign. Here are some signs and symptoms recorded in case of food borne illness.

• Stomach ache

• Dehydration

• Queasiness

• Vomiting

• Diarrhea

• Blood in stool or with diarrhea

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• Fever

It is essential to avoid neglecting these conditions and one should immediately seek medical attention once any of the aforementioned symptoms are noticed.

Treatment for food borne illness

It is seen that most food borne illness cases are benign and can ebb away with time. Some experts also assert that increasing the intake of fluid may help in obtaining relief from such mild food borne issues. Some people are given IV or Intravenous Therapy to rehydrate the body and supply beneficial medicines to the patients. For people experiencing gastrointestinal issues or neurological abnormalities, immediate medical help is suggested.

In severe physical conditions like HUS (hemolytic uremic syndrome), the patient may have to be hospitalized and treated with efficacious medications as well as supportive nutrients. During such situation, it is essential to maintain a stable blood pressure rate as well as balance electrolyte and fluid maintenance is also significant. The influence of malfunctioned kidney is decreased by efficient techniques as suggested by the doctor. An affected individual may also have to undergo dialysis until kidney starts functioning normally. In some cases, the health expert may also suggest transfusion of blood.


Food borne illness caused by other microorganism such as Listeria monocytogenes or Clostridium Botulinum, is comparatively more serious and causes more severe symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. Such physical condition may also lead to sudden death or even abortion. In some cases particularly in children HUS or hemolytic uremic syndrome may result due to infection caused by a certain strain of bacteria, such as E.coli O157:H7; this may also lead to failure of kidney or death. HUS is categorized as a rare condition which mostly affects children between the age group of one to ten years. It is also considered as a leading factor resulting in acute renal failure. A child may get afflicted by such diseases after consuming foods or liquids that are contaminated. The major sources of the affliction, as mentioned above, are undercooked food, unpasteurized juice, and contact with afflicted individual and contaminated water. HUS infections also have symptoms, somewhat similar to aforementioned symptoms; For example, stomach aches, diarrhea, vomiting etc.

When to Call a Doctor:

Incase any of the above mentioned signs or symptoms of food borne illness is experienced, it is necessary to see a certified doctor and get diagnosed for the issue. Any health abnormality may be a formidable sign of possible health adversity; hence, it is essential to consult a doctor as soon as any of the signs are noticed. However, here are some scenarios wherein obtaining medical attention is essential.

• Incase body temperature reaches 101.5°

• If one notices blood in stools

• If diarrhea persists for over 2 to 3 days

• Extreme dehydration of body

• Prolonged vomiting that leads to dehydration of the body

• Dry mouth

• Infrequent urination

• Drowsiness and dizziness

• Tiredness

• Reduce blood pressure

• Increased respiration

• Increased Heartbeat

• Lowered Concentration and confusion

These are some of the circumstances in which it becomes essential to seek medical attention. One should not overlook the symptoms of the diseases as food borne illness may turn into a serious condition.

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